Ex-San Miguel lawyer is new Solicitor General


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Francis Jardeleza ends a 6-month term as Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon to become the Solicitor General

MANILA, Philippines— Lawyer Francis Jardeleza, deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, is the new Solicitor General, replacing Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Rappler learned on Monday, February 6.

NEWLY APPOINTED. Francis Jardeleza replaces Jose Anselmo Cadiz as Solicitor General Jardeleza, former senior vice president and general counsel of the food and beverage giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC), had vied for various government positions before: as Ombudsman and Supreme Court Justice.

Sources said Cadiz was scheduled to introduce Jardeleza to employees of the Office of the Solicitor General on Monday  morning.

After serving the Aquino adminstration for 1.5 years, Cadiz tendered his resignation last February 3, according Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Cadiz reportedly wants to return to private practice.

In December last year, President Benigno Aquino III dropped hints he was unhappy with his legal advisers and that he was considering revamping his legal team.

In a statement on Monday, the President said Cadiz has “done his work with dedication and zeal” and that “he can look back at his time in office as one in which the foundations for a reinvigorated Office of the Solicitor-General have been laid.”

The President added: “I thank Atty. Cadiz for his loyalty and dedication, not just to the administration, but to upholding the interests of the Filipino people. He has fought the good fight and earned a deserving rest to enable him to spend more time with his family.”

Jardeleza and De Lima were former partners in Roco, Buñag, Kapunan, Migallos & Jardeleza, a law office founded by the late Sen. Raul Roco.

Jardeleza graduated from the UP College of Law and placed third in the 1974 bar exams. He completed his master of laws in Harvard University.

Leaving the Ombudsman

Last year, he was the first to be interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for the post of Ombudsman. But the job went to retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales instead.

Jardeleza however was named Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon in July 2011, replacing Mark Jalandoni, a close associate of resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

Before joining SMC in 1997, Jardeleza was a former partner of the law firm ACCRA (Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices) and the Roco, Buñag, Kapunan, Migallos & Jardeleza law office. The SMC is headed by Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, uncle of President Aquino.

In his interview before the JBC on May 19, 2011, when he was applying for Ombudsman, Jardeleza said he does not enjoy any political backing, nor does he belong to any political party. This, in his view, was the “strong reason” why he should be considered for the post.

One of his strengths, he said, is his being “proactive” in litigation. “I can prepare cases thoroughly.”

“I live a very simple life, even then,” he told the JBC. Asked if he would inhibit from cases involving SMC, Jardeleza said no. “I’m not sure if I need to inhibit at all because logically, I will then have to inhibit in all cases that have to do with other law firms I worked with,” he said.

When asked what the JBC should be looking for in an ombudsman, Jardeleza said “honesty, probity.”

Jardeleza was the lawyer of Newsbreak Board chair and Rappler editor at large, Marites Danguilan-Vitug, in a past libel case.with reports from Purple Romero/Rappler.com

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